Quisto Lopez and Daniel Braman captured their first World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) Major event title in style on May 14, 2022, when they won their hometown rodeo, Rodeo Corpus Christi (RCC), after posting a 4.12 second run during the Triple Crown Round.
The boys from Beeville, and Refugio, respectively, earned a total of $16,600 apiece during the weeklong run of the rodeo. That included the $15,000 paycheck for the final round win along with a pair of custom Rodeo Corpus Christi surfboards.
The pair are lifelong friends but drew each other for partners here in Corpus. They were the most consistent team during the three rounds held in the American Bank Center during a week of “win or go home” runs.
Just one night after posting the fastest time of the rodeo, a 3.96, to secure the final round berth during an extremely tough round, they faced a completely different challenge in the Showdown Round which began the final night of the $553,000 rodeo.
The Showdown Round features the top two teams from each of the three opening performances along with the WCRA Leaderboard #1 ranked team who get a bye into the final night.
To kick things off, Zachary Kilgus and Jake Edwards set a solid pace with their run of 5.21 seconds. Then things got rough. After four straight no times, the final two teams knew all they had to do was catch . . . something easier said than done, particularly in a short arena where laying up is almost as dangerous as going for it.
“Sometimes that’s hard,” Lopez admitted with a laugh. “When I got in the box, I took a deep breath and was like, what do I need to do?”
Lopez said he kept thinking about RodeoHouston’s Finals when PRCA World Champ Clay Tryan just had to catch to win the rodeo.
“When they interviewed him, he said that’s the easiest thing to do is catch,” Lopez said. “Not for me, not at all.”
“I got a little nervous,” Lopez admitted. “My horse was real strong. I didn’t get a tight loop so I gave him a little whip right there, but Daniel just came around and cleaned it up.”
“I was really expecting that to be a little tougher than it was,” Braman agreed. “I had a good idea what Quisto was going to do: he was going to run up and get it on him and make it as easy as possible for me.”
“I just tried to get a good swing over his back and take a good shot; make sure I got him caught and that way we had a chance in the next round.”
Lopez and Braman’s 5.76 was their slowest run of the perfs but ensured their spot in the Triple Crown Round. Driggers and Nogueira closed out the round with a 4.73-second run.
About an hour later, the team got together to talk a little strategy prior to the final run.
“He and I were sitting outside talking about what we needed to do because we’re first out,” Lopez said. “You got, Kaleb and Junior—World Champs, world record holders, 3.3, the fastest guys in the world behind you.”
According to Lopez, they decided they needed to catch first and foremost to win some money but be ready for anything.
“If he’s right there, we’ll go at him. If he’s not, like I told him, if he’s bad, let’s just chase him in a circle and get him caught,” Lopez joked.
Luckily, it didn’t come to that.
For Braman, the whole thing wasn’t nearly so cerebral.
“I told Quiston, you’re the quarterback,” he said. “I’m going to follow you and the worst thing for me to do is to think about it. I’m not going to think about it, I’m just going to heel the steer whenever I can.”
It was a short wait to see if either Kilgus and Edwards or Driggers and Nogueira would beat them. After the first team missed, it was up to the reigning World Champs.
They were fast but a leg slipped free and the five seconds sent Lopez and Braman to the winner’s circle.
“I just looked up at the clock and saw that it was 3.99 and I thought well if we’re going to get beat, it’s great to be beaten by the World Champions,” Lopez said. “Then I saw the flagman put five in the air and I was like whoa.”
“Wow, we won it.”
Being locals, the crowd was definitely showing its favoritism and Lopez said he heard it in the arena and witnessed the support on social media.
“I heard everybody, it was loud. And my partner over here, he was throwing his hat in the air and he gets everybody more riled up.”
“I didn’t throw my hat,” Braman corrected.
“I took it off though. I was screaming at people. I get pretty fired up.”
Both guys are new dads: Lopez’s son Quisten is just over a year old while Braman’s little girl Scarlett is nine months. While the kids are too young to attend the rodeo, both men had plenty of family to witness the big win.
“When we got done with the interviews, I walked out back and my dad was sitting on my horse,” Braman chuckled. Besides his dad, Dan, Braman’s fiancee Savanah was on hand along with step-mom Stephanie.
Lopez had his wife Cheyenne and folks Fred and Sylvia in the house along with a network of friends which included the family of Bobby Pullin. Pullin owned Hamman Excavating who has sponsored the team roping at Rodeo Corpus Christi for many years. Sadly, Pullin passed away a few years ago.
“Last night, after everything, I went and sat with his widow and she was so proud,” Lopez noted. Pullin and Lopez met roping and became close friends.
“When I was going down earlier [to rope in the Showdown Round], they were all yelling at me,” he said. “When I finished, after the final round, I could hear them.”
“When we were taking pictures with the surfboards, they were right there jumping up and down.”
“It’s pretty meaningful to win this,” Lopez said.”It’s funny when I first met Bobby, he said ‘are you any good?’ I said, ‘well, I’m OK and he said, ‘well I see you’ve never won Corpus so you can’t be that good.’”
“We became really good friends and I wish he was still here so I could tell him, I guess I’m finally good,” Lopez said with a smile.
Meanwhile, Braman took the chance to mention a friend.
“Kenny Miller, he puts on ropings, he told me to shout him out if I won it so that’s what I’m doing!” he laughed.
Neither roper had plans for a big local celebration.
“Honestly, I’m probably going to head on in, I’m pretty tired,” Braman admitted with a laugh.
“I’m just trying to soak it all in,” Lopez said. “If I get a chance to celebrate OK, but I’m just ready to get home to my little boy.”
With the win, Lopez and Braman become eligible for the Triple Crown of Rodeo $1 million bonus which will go to anyone who can win three WCRA Majors in a row. The next stop is Salt Lake City’s Days of 47 Cowboy Games.
Braman earned points in Corpus thanks to his fiancee Savanah, who handles all the nominations for him.
“I’ve never nominated one in my life,” Braman joked. “Savanah nominates for me. The reason I got in here was because of her. I won a rodeo and she told me, ‘you got into Corpus because I nominated it.’”
Meanwhile, Salt Lake hadn’t been on Lopez’s radar as he’s busy roping, shoeing horses, and tending to cows at home.
“But after this win, I guess I’m in contention for the Triple Crown so I’ll start nominating and we’ll just see how it goes.”
Showdown Round, Saturday, May 14, 2022
Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.73 seconds
Zachary Kilgus/Jake Edwards, 5.21 seconds
Quisto Lopez/Daniel Braman, 5.76 seconds
Garrett Elmore/Justin de la Garza, No Time, $1,000 each
Conley Kleinhans/Bray Fenogilio (DY), No Time, $1,000
Tee Luttrell/Joe Mattern, No Time, $1,000
Ric LeBlanc/Jed Sibley, No Time, $1,000
*Top 3 Advance to Triple Crown Round
Triple Crown Round
Quisto Lopez/Daniel Braman, 4.12 seconds , $15,000 each
Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 8.99 seconds , $6,500
Zachary Kilgus/Jake Edwards, No Time, $2,500
Rodeo Corpus Christi Team Roping Champions: Quisto Lopez/Daniel Braman, $16,600 each